So ,I’m a music teacher and every year we have what are called “walk through observations”. Basically, this means that 4 times a year the principal or vice principal comes into my class to assess my teaching. Fine. Sure. No problem.
Well, today I was doing an activity with my 1st graders called “Musical Groceries”. Basically, they make up a fake shopping list and then together we figure out what the rhythm of the words on the list is. To do that, a small group of students plays the beat on the conga drum while the rest of the students move around the room while chanting the word. It sounds weird but it’s a great way for the kids to figure out the relationship between syllables and rhythm.
They quickly get bored of walking the rhythm so I let them come up with their own ways of moving around the room.( skipping, hopping, etc) One student suggested they hop around the room like frogs, way down low to the ground. Okay fine.
Or it was fine until my vice principal walked in to do my observation only to find 20 seven year olds hopping around the room like a hoard of little hob-goblins, rhythmically chanting “BREAD! BREAD! BREAD!” while five other kids played ominous beats in a drum circle.
I have never seen anyone look so confused in my life and I really don’t want to know the rating I got on my observation.

if you’re an adult that works with kids of any age do me two quick favors:

  • learn the symptoms of adhd and autism and their presentation in all genders. you dont have to be an expert, just know a bit about it beyond popular knowledge.
  • learn to recognize signs a kid is being abused in any way. beyond bruises and black eyes. learn to recognize the fearful apologies and hesitation. do some research.

do me these two favors and save tens of lives.

that’s no exageration either. after teaching my mom basics about mental disorders, she started spotting neurodivergent kids in her classrooms and helped them get help. almost every child she’s helped has been diagnosed with the disorder she predicted and none of them would have been diagnosed at a young age without her help. knowing this stuff matters.

learn. save lives. don’t make kids grow up in fear of their symptoms and family.

Here is 10 things I tell my students on the first day of class about building yourself up into being a artist. This is starting point, not a all encompassing list. Hope you find it helpful!

1. Never stop experimenting. When you stop trying new things your style will get stagnant. Developing your style never has an stopping point, you’re going to continue learning and changing–that is a good thing.

2. Don’t draw to please a particular person or audience. It is tempting to draw something you think the person viewing it will like. It starts with drawing to please a friend/family member, then a teacher, and then a wider audience online or in person. However, consider drawing to please yourself first, an audience will follow in time and you will face a lot less burn out down the line. You’ll be hired for this, work you made out of something you liked crafting–not something you forced yourself to craft. Don’t make art that makes you miserable.

3. Learn the basics. Get good at anatomy (human and animal), perspective, creating depth, lighting, etc–then break the rules you’ve learned. Work, no matter how abstract, pushed, and pulled is always stronger when informed by a mastery of the basics.

4. Practice working in ways that do not hurt your hand. Learn to draw with a relaxed hand and draw in long strokes. Both of these methods help prevent issues with your hand, wrist, and arm. I’ve never gotten carpal tunnel, and I draw on a daily basis, because I have learned how to treat my hand well. Your hand is your tool, if you wear it out there isn’t a new one you can just pick up. The best treatment for any possible physical issues is prevention.

5. Learn how to draw without erasing. It is scary and it is tough no doubt! However the best way to become more confident is through not erasing. There is a medium for everyone to try this out, whether it is pen or non-erasing colored pencils. If you want to ease yourself into this method try out Pentel red lead, it erases a bit–but overall will always leave a mark with every stroke you make. The importance of this is learning to not be afraid of mistakes.

6. Draw from life, from reference photos, and from imagination. This trio is important, combining all three is usually how you build great drawing skills. Drawing from life gives you the ability to capture small details that you’ll remember to put in when drawing from a reference photo, drawing from refs will give you the practice you’ll need to handle whatever subject so that one day you can draw it from your own imagination–see how that works?

7. You’re art isn’t completely unique and that is okay. I can’t emphasis how many people I know who have gotten so hung up on being something totally unique that they burn out fast and never make work again. Now, considering how much art is in the world there is no way that what you create will be 100% unique to you. That is fine, your personality in your work is more of what makes something yours than a “style”.

8. Figure out your work’s personality. On that note finding the personality of your art is important as you go into trying to build your own place in the art world. The personality of a piece is a combination of style, subject, color, shapes, lines, and maybe most important themes (yes subject and themes are different). This combo is what makes your art special. At a loss for where to start figuring out your own personality? Compile a list of 10 artists you love. Why do you love them? Is it the shapes of one artist that speak to you, the line work of another is beautiful, the themes of a third make you feel inspired? Now take the 10 things you love about those 10 artists and start applying them to your own work. This isn’t about copying these artists, it is about the inspiration. That line work you love in another artist’s piece is gunna look different in yours for example. Those themes from another artist, well when you take them on your life might inform them in a opposite way. In time your inspired work will evolve into something that is your own.

9. Talent is nice, persistence is more important. Someone may be naturally talented in some areas of art, however someone who is persistent in their craft is so much more likely to succeed. Effort, continued growth, and practice will add up to so much more in the long run than just skating by on “talent”.

10. Be a good person. Treat others with respect, learn about social issues, don’t be a creep, and use your art to help people. And this might mean you craft a piece about an important issue that changes thousands of lives, or you might just be creating to help yourself get through the day. Both are important, after all you are a person too and you should always be trying to help and be kind to yourself.

A To-Do List for White Fandom

I’ve seen several posts circulating today about racism in multiple fandoms. The arguments and counterpoints I’ve seen are not unexpected. For background: I am writing instructor and I devote a significant portion of my classes to discussions of media representation. Why? Because I realized I was doing everything that these posts talk about: Ignoring characters of color, sidelining them for white villains or sidekicks with far less screen time, ignoring women of color entirely, etc. And all the while, like so many of you, I said, “I’m not racist.” I had in-universe explanations for why I liked this ‘ship over that one, this character more than that. I could defend and explain everything.

Racism is not who you are. It is what you do. And here’s a fact: All white people do racist things. We’ve been trained to, taught to. It’s in our culture, all around us. If you’re white, our culture has allowed most racism to be entirely invisible to us. Racism isn’t just yelled slurs and burning crosses. Often, racism is simply *not caring* about people who aren’t white. Racism is an inability to empathize with or care about the story of someone who is not white.

IF YOU’RE FEELING DEFENSIVE, PLEASE KEEP READING. I beg you. That’s exactly the feeling we have to push through. I’m going to give you a brief list of actions we can take. And I know these are important because I have to do them, all the time. Because the poison is in me, too.

If you truly believe in equality and want to be a better person, then here’s what we, as white fans, have to do:

1. BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE. It absolutely sucks to realize you may have hurt someone, or that you might be wrong. Realizing you’ve done something racist is a stomach-churning reality check. Have the courage to face it. Don’t run from it.

2. INSTEAD OF LOOKING FOR WAYS YOU’RE NOT RACIST, LOOK FOR WAYS THAT YOU *ARE*. It’s comforting and tempting to itemize the ways in which we’re open-minded. See #1 again. Don’t let yourself be comfortable. Instead, look for what you do and ways you contribute to fandom racism. Maybe it’s reblogging or creating gif sets that leave out main characters of color. Maybe it’s forgetting to include them in your fanfiction, even when they would rightfully be there. Maybe it’s reducing them to stereotypes or caretakers for white characters. Maybe it’s ‘shipping the white leads with anyone but the POC around them. Maybe it’s accusing POC fans of “starting drama” when they discuss racism. Look at your actions and be honest with yourself.

3. PUT IN THE EFFORT TO FALL IN LOVE WITH POC CHARACTERS. Here’s the thing: It’s easy for us to fall in love with white male heroes and villains. It’s what we’ve been training for all our lives, with every movie, television show, and book we’ve ever enjoyed. Media *encourages* us to love white men. So yes, falling in love with a character of color will be harder, and it probably won’t “just happen.” So, truly look at Finn and Poe, at Cassian Andor and Bodhi. Truly look at Luke Garroway and Magnus Bane, at Luke Cage, at Iris West and James Olsen, at Michonne. Seek out ways to connect with their feelings and their stories. Look at them as full-hearted, three-dimensional human beings. Force yourself to become obsessed with them. If you do this, I would be absolutely shocked if you don’t fall in love with one of them.

4. LISTEN TO POC FANS. Yes, even if they’re angry and call you names. For my research, I spend a lot of time on blogs that talk about hating white people, hating white fans, hating white feminists. The language is furious and vitriolic. So what? They have every right to be angry. Instead of judging their anger, LISTEN to it. Try to be better. Don’t say “not all white fans,” or “not all white people.” Instead, try to be a better white person. Be a better white fan. Be a white fan who is brave enough to look at themselves and truly be an ally. Do not silence POC fans. I promise you: Listen, and you’ll realize they’re not overreacting.

5. REMEMBER THAT “ALLY” IS A VERB. Our thoughts count for nothing. It’s our actions that speak for us. Maybe you’ve read all this and you still want to insist that you’re not racist. Okay. But your actions might be. Challenge the stereotypes that exist in your head, learn to identify them as stereotypes and be willing to hold yourself and other white fans accountable.

6. REPEAT STEPS 1-5 FOREVER. We cannot cure our internalized white supremacy in a weekend. This is a forever gig. But it’s one of the most worthwhile tasks you can ever give yourself. Want to feel like you’re changing the world? Here’s where it starts.

Inevitably there’s more to add to this list. I’m always learning, but I thought it might be useful to share a few of these steps I’ve learned along the way. I love fandom. I believe profoundly in the transformative power of fanfiction, fan creations, and the friendships forged through our shared love of media.

I believe we can become BETTER PEOPLE through fandom. But it will not happen without our willingness to be transformed.

Remus’s Teaching Methods

Can we plz talk about Remus’s teaching methods in PoA. Okay just listen:

First off, he showed up late to HIS OWN CLASS!

Secondly, he told them to put away there books and took a walk through the castle, to the STAFF ROOM.

Thirdly, when Peeves started to call him “Loony, Loony, Lupin” in front of his class, he SMILED. Then shoot gum up Peeves nose. And TAUGHT this spell to the class.

Fourthly, when Snape rudely insulted Neville, he made brought Neville up to the front of class, then proceeded to make a Snape/Boggart dress in drag.

Fithly, “ ‘Now then,’ said Professor Lupin, beckoning the class toward the end of the room, where there was nothing but an old wardrobe where the teachers kept their spare robes. As Professor Lupin went to stand next to it, the Wardrobe gave a sudden wobble, banging off the wall.

‘Nothing to worry about,’ said Professor Lupin calmly because a few people had jumped backward in alarm. ‘There’s a boggart in there.’”

- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling, Page: 133

Just think of the smirk he is fighting as he says that so casually. Oh yeah, just a monster in the wardrobe.

Sixthly, he casually keeps dangerous creatures in Hogwarts to teach with.

Seventhly, the final. It was an obstacle corse, “ Professor Lupin had compiled the most unusual exam any of them had taken; a sort of obstacle corse outside in the sun, where they had to wade across a deep paddling pool containing a gindylow, cross a series of potholes full of Red Caps, squish their way across a patch of marsh while ignoring misleading directions from a hinkypunk, then climb into an old trunk and battle with a new boggart.”

- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling, Page: 318

Think about Lupins thought process; Exams, a test, no, fun, how about a game, sort of game, what is a game/test, obstacle corse, full of, dangerous creatures, yes that will work.

Remus teaching methods might be bizarre, but Remus is still may peoples favorite DADA teacher after many years. They did learn the most, that actually stuck in there brains.

Every loved him, but Malfoy and his “gang”. He was fun, quirky, and just plain cool. He was an amazing teacher in bad circumstances. The only DADA teacher that didn’t have some other agenda.

He truly was a great teacher and that is just another reason to love Remus Lupin.

The signs as my students

Aries: The girl who answered the question “what’s something that’s magnetic?” with “Beyonce” 

Taurus: The boy who ran around at recess screaming “I LIVE TO DIE”

Gemini: The kid who thought snapchat face filters were just some cool game and was always asking if he could ‘play snapchat’

Cancer: The student who looked me straight in the eyes and said “I can see things other people can’t” and then went right back to drawing velociraptors.

Leo: The girl who wrote a full-page story about a woman who fell in love with a giant ear of corn. The best line of the story being “The corn was always there for her.”

Virgo: The kid who would call me over to fill me in on the latest third grade gossip every morning

Libra: The student who dramatically sat down across from me after school and said, “Miss we need to talk business” when asked what kind of business replied, “Chip business”

Scorpio: The student who was not actually in my class at all but was somehow always in the classroom anyway

Sagittarius: The boy who during aftercare somehow snuck out of the school, walked to the 7-11, and then came back with a huge bag of chips

Capricorn: The boy who grabbed my hands one day, started humming tango music, and proceeded to pull me away to dance around the room with him

Aquarius: The kid that called me over in the middle of silent reading time to tell me that moth man did nothing wrong and was just a guy trying his best

Pieces: The little girl who every time she saw me would scream “warning you!” before jumping onto me and expecting me to catch her

The most under-appreciated joke in Spiderman:Homecoming is when the high school debate coach (Martin Starr) says “can’t lose a kid on a field trip” with a slight chuckle and then, tears beginning to well in his eyes, mutters “…not again.” 

A sea of silence and the two teachers, my girlfriend and me, laughing our heads off in the theater.  

A few challenges teaching English to Russian students in a Russian school:
  • explaining “to be” when Russian doesn’t have “to be” in the present tense
  • yes we need a verb in each sentence
    • every sentence, nikita, i said what i said
  • yes I know Russian is easier when it comes to word order
  • and order of adjectives
    • (tbh I didn’t know there was an order of adjectives)
  • the conditional
    • if I have time today I would go to the park but
    • if i had time yesterday i would have gone to the park
      • but, miss, they both translate to like the same thing??
        • Yea they do, ur right
          • So what’s the difference?
            • i don’t even know
  • explaining the progressive tenses when Russian doesn’t really have progressive
  • or perfect
  • I mean, it has perfective, but lemme tell you, some things just don’t translate well
  • Pronouncing the words “beech”, “beach”, and “b*tch”
  • Also spelling these words
  • getting 20 essays entitled “The Golden B*tch” about an environmental project renovating a lake shore
  • The Conditional
  • say the words “society” and “piece” to any Russian student and watch them laugh
  • (actually maybe don’t say it if u have middle school students. and high school students. just figure a way around these words.)
  • Generally calling all animals “it”
    • but, miss, the animals are girls or boys!
      • I mean I suppose but
        • so then we use he/she?
          • No
          • Unless u love them and they’re ur pet
            • joke’s on me my students love all animals
  • The Conditional, types 2 and 3
  • will have been working
  • had had
  • direct speech–>indirect speech
  • the entirety of the passive voice (how tf do you translate this to Russian?? When I do translate it students are like……..that’s not how we use Russian
    • I know that’s not how we use Russian I speak it too
    • But unfortunately that’s how we use English
      •  asked the Russian lit teacher how to translate “by them” and “by him” and “by her” so that I could help students translate Passive Voice and
        • she didn’t know
          • “we don’t use Russian like that though”
          • “yes, ma’am, I know we don’t, but I have to translate it for the kids u feel me”
          • “but that’s silly”
          • “yes, ma’am, it is I’m begging u please help me”
  • условное наклонение
  • “That’s not how we use Russian! English is so strange!”
    • this I know I promise you
  • auxiliary verbs
  • ??
  • The Present Conditional and the Past Conditional
  • please add more